Republican Plan to Delay Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Would Save $31 Billion — CBO

It would also, the budget office estimates, raise premiums and result in 13 million fewer people gaining access to health insurance.

Rocky rollout: HealthCare.gov.
(C)2012 RICHARD A BLOOM
Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
Clara Ritger
March 12, 2014, 8:54 a.m.

The Re­pub­lic­an plan to delay Obama­care’s in­di­vidu­al man­date in or­der to pay for a fix to a broken Medi­care pay­ment sys­tem would save the gov­ern­ment $31 bil­lion, the Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice said Wed­nes­day.

The delay would also res­ult in 13 mil­lion few­er people hav­ing health in­sur­ance by 2018, CBO said. Fur­ther, health in­sur­ance premi­ums would be 10 per­cent to 20 per­cent high­er in 2018, CBO pro­jects.

The House is sched­uled to vote Fri­day on the le­gis­la­tion, which would re­place Medi­care’s pay­ment for­mula for doc­tors.

The cur­rent for­mula calls for ever-in­creas­ing cuts that Con­gress al­ways delays, an an­nu­al ritu­al known as the “doc fix.” And law­makers have spent years look­ing for a low-cost, per­man­ent solu­tion and an end to the cycle of short-term patches.

Re­pla­cing the for­mula would cost $138 bil­lion over the next dec­ade, ac­cord­ing to CBO, and Con­gress has been di­vided over how to pay for it.

Re­pub­lic­ans want to off­set that spend­ing — as well as save an ad­di­tion­al $31 bil­lion — by delay­ing the Af­ford­able Care Act’s in­di­vidu­al man­date for five years. If the delay were put in place, the CBO pro­jects the gov­ern­ment would spend about $170 bil­lion less over a dec­ade, mostly be­cause it would spend less on Medi­caid and on tax sub­sidies aimed at help­ing people cov­er the cost of their premi­ums.

The Re­pub­lic­an bill is a polit­ic­al mark­er, but it has no chance of be­com­ing law so long as Demo­crats con­trol the Sen­ate and Pres­id­ent Obama re­mains in the White House.

The in­di­vidu­al man­date is a key piece of the Af­ford­able Care Act. Without it, in­di­vidu­als would only have in­cent­ive to buy in­sur­ance after they’re sick. And be­cause the law bars com­pan­ies from ex­clud­ing people with such “preex­ist­ing con­di­tions,” the in­di­vidu­al in­sur­ance mar­ket would likely be filled with ex­pens­ive cus­tom­ers and lack healthy ones — mak­ing the ex­changes some­where between un­friendly and un­sus­tain­able for private in­surers.

The GOP pro­pos­al has also pushed back sub­stant­ive ne­go­ti­ations on the per­man­ent doc fix. Poli­cy­makers on both sides of the aisle have been try­ing to ham­mer out a deal to re­peal and re­place what is known as the SGR for­mula for over a year.

Con­gress has to find a way to pay the SGR’s $138 bil­lion price tag by March 31, or else doc­tors who provide ser­vices to Medi­care be­ne­fi­ciar­ies face an auto­mat­ic 20 per­cent pay cut.

Le­gis­lat­ors could also pass an­oth­er tem­por­ary doc fix, which they’ve done each year since 2003 to stop the auto­mat­ic cuts im­posed by the SGR for­mula. But that Band-Aid solu­tion would an­ger key stake­hold­ers, who have in­tensely lob­bied the Hill to come up with a real fix.

What We're Following See More »
HUFFINGTON POST EFFORT ID’D PROBLEMS
Inauguration Committee Admits to Faulty Donor Records
7 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

The Presidential Inaugural Committee "acknowledged late Monday that a final report it filed with the Federal Election Commission this month was riddled with errors, many of which were first identified through a crowdsourced data project at HuffPost." The committee raised about $100 million for the festivities, but the 500-page FEC report, which detailed where that money came from, was riddled with problems. The likely culprit: a system of access codes sent out by the GOP's ticketing system. Those codes were then often passed around on the secondary market.

Source:
WHITE HOUSE BLOCKING DOC REQUEST
Michael Flynn Remains A Russian-Sized Problem
2 hours ago
BREAKING

The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former nationals security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking members Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents request are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes are not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.

Source:
SENATE JUDICIARY HEARING
Sally Yates to Testify on May 8
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
MESSAGE TO PUTIN
U.S. To Conduct Exercises In Estonia
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.

Source:
BIPARTISAN SUPPORT YIELDS 87 VOTES IN FAVOR
Senate OKs Perdue as Agriculture Secretary
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

It took long enough, but the Trump administration finally includes an Agriculture secretary. "The Senate easily approved Sonny Perdue on Monday" by a count of 87-11. Perdue enjoyed the support of Democrats like Delaware's Chris Coons and Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, both of whom spoke in his favor.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login